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Casey Dreier's blogs from 2013

Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 9: The Lives of the Stars

Casey Dreier • December 24, 2013

This episode highlights the other big idea in Cosmos: that we are profoundly connected with the universe around us. Our constituent parts are forged in the bellies of massive stars; we exist through their deaths.

Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 8: Journeys Through Space and Time

Casey Dreier • December 17, 2013

Sagan makes us confront the limitations of our mortality given the immensities of space and time presented to us by the cosmos.

Europa: No Longer a "Should," But a "Must"

Casey Dreier • December 12, 2013

We've waited long enough, Europa cries out for exploration and discovery. It's time to heed that cry.

My Cosmos review will be delayed this week

Casey Dreier • December 11, 2013

A variety of AGU matters and unexpected political work and coverage will delay the Cosmos reviews by a week.

Top NASA Scientists Grapple with Budget Cuts

Casey Dreier • December 10, 2013

Ellen Stofan, NASA's Chief Scientist, and John Grunsfeld, the head of the Science Mission Directorate and a Hubble repair astronaut, highlighted recent NASA science discoveries at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco.

A Protected Class of Programs at NASA?

Casey Dreier • December 10, 2013

The House Science Committee is considering giving a select few NASA programs special protected status against cancellation.

The Sorry State of Planetary Science Funding In One Chart

Casey Dreier • December 09, 2013

If you want to know why Cassini might be terminated early, or why NASA pulled out of its joint Mars mission with Europe, or why the new ASRG power source was put on indefinite hold, this chart has your answer.

Why We're Writing the President (& Congress) Now

Casey Dreier • December 06, 2013

Decisions about both the 2014 and 2015 budgets are happening soon.

What's Going on With Planetary Science Research?

Casey Dreier • December 04, 2013

Budget cuts mixed with a new way to fund science could disproportionately impact the next generation of planetary scientists.

Don't Miss Voyager Head Scientist Ed Stone on the Colbert Report

Casey Dreier • December 04, 2013

Voyager Chief Scientist Ed Stone was the featured guest on the Colbert Report to celebrate the spacecraft's entry into interstellar space.

Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 7: The Backbone of Night

Casey Dreier • December 03, 2013

We return to the big idea of the series – that the universe can be known and we better ourselves in our efforts to understand it – in the best episode of Cosmos so far.

Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 6: Travellers' Tales

Casey Dreier • November 25, 2013

The Voyager mission may be the ultimate expression of our desire to explore, but why does that will exist in the first place? Why is it unique to humans?

NASA Just Cancelled its Advanced Spacecraft Power Program

Casey Dreier • November 15, 2013

The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Program (ASRG) was just cancelled by NASA. This was to be the saving grace for Plutonium-238 availability, as it was a much more efficient way to generate electricity than classic RTG systems.

Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 5: Blues for a Red Planet

Casey Dreier • November 12, 2013

Episode 5 focuses on Mars, the planet that has stubbornly refused to conform to the wishes of humanity for hundreds of years, from Lowell to Sagan. Grab your cosmo and join our discussion of 'Blues for a Red Planet.'

We Need You to Stand Up for Planetary Exploration

Casey Dreier • November 08, 2013

Congress and the White House are making decisions that impact funding for NASA's Planetary Exploration missions. We need to tell them that YES we are paying attention and care about the future of exploration.

Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 4: Heaven & Hell

Casey Dreier • November 04, 2013

Humans face the consequences of our own knowledge about the cosmos in this latest episode recap and analysis of Carl Sagan's classic series.

Power From the Isotopes

Casey Dreier • October 29, 2013

We report on the current state of Plutonium-238 production in the United States, a crucial fuel source for planetary exploration spacecraft.

Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 3: The Harmony of the Worlds

Casey Dreier • October 29, 2013

We continue our analysis of Cosmos as we jump back in time to see the birth of modern science with Johannes Kepler or, as Sagan calls it, the first fusion of "imagination with observation." Welcome to Episode 3: The Harmony of the Worlds.

Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 2: One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue

Casey Dreier • October 21, 2013

In episode 2 we switch from cosmos to microcosm and discover how we are connected to all living things. Is Sagan too authoritative in this episode? Plus, a major error in one of the stories.

Cosmos With Cosmos Episode 1: The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean

Casey Dreier • October 14, 2013

We face immensity and a taste of things to come in the first episode of Cosmos, but we're also provided with the tools to comprehend our own place within the universe.

Introducing Cosmos with Cosmos

Casey Dreier • October 10, 2013

Let's grab a drink and watch the original Cosmos together. We'll provide write-ups and discussion every week through the entire original series. Get together with your friends!

Juno Flies By Earth Today

Casey Dreier • October 09, 2013

NASA's Juno spacecraft gets a gravity assist from the Earth on its way to Jupiter today. Learn all about today's close approach.

NASA's MAVEN Mission Spared from Shutdown

Casey Dreier • October 03, 2013

Launch preparations will resume for NASA's MAVEN spacecraft, due to launch to Mars on November 18th. Work had previously been suspended, potentially causing the spacecraft to miss its once-every-26-month launch opportunity.

Origami Nanosats: The Future of Space Telescopes?

Casey Dreier • October 01, 2013

We interview Dr. Franck Marchis from the SETI Institute about nanosats that can unfold in space to create sensitive telescopes that are orders of magnitudes cheaper than current hardware.

[Updated] A Government Shutdown Could Delay MAVEN's Launch to Mars

Casey Dreier • September 30, 2013

NASA confirmed that a government shutdown could affect pre-launch processing of the MAVEN spacecraft, currently scheduled to launch to Mars on November 18th.

Plutonium-238 is Crucial for Space Exploration – and it's Running Out

Casey Dreier • September 20, 2013

Plutonium-238 provides electricity to deep space missions, but NASA only has a little bit left. A new article in Wired highlights the disastrous consequences of no plutonium for use in space, something the Planetary Society is currently fighting for in Washington, D.C.

The Energy Department is Full of Hugely Wasteful Spending, But Can't Afford to Make Plutonium for NASA

Casey Dreier • September 13, 2013

A recent report shows that major programs within the Department of Energy are billions of dollars over budget due to lax oversight, yet the congressional committees responsible for the Department

Our Debt to NASA - Fighting the Pernicious Myth of NASA as Unnecessary

Casey Dreier • September 10, 2013

A recent article in the NY Times Sunday Magazine highlights how the pernicious myth of NASA as wasteful spending perpetuates through our culture.

A Division of Planetary Science

Casey Dreier • September 10, 2013

When scientists can't agree on priorities, will politicians listen? A reflection on a recent public policy session from the European Planetary Science Congress in London.

EPSC 2013 Coverage

Casey Dreier • September 08, 2013

The Planetary Society will cover this week's European Planetary Science Congress in London.

NASA's Europa Mission Concept Rejects ASRGs -- May Use Solar Panels at Jupiter Instead

Casey Dreier • September 05, 2013

The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) is no longer an option for powering a potential Europa mission. The ASRG uses Plutonium-238 to generate electricity, but is far more efficient than past RTGs.

NASA Backs Off From Additional Planetary Cuts in 2013

Casey Dreier • September 01, 2013

The final operating plan for the space agency provided $75 million more to planetary exploration than initially proposed.

SpaceNews Highlights the Planetary Society's Advocacy Work

Casey Dreier • August 30, 2013

The Planetary Society is "making a difference" in the space industry, according to SpaceNews, the world's leading newspaper covering the space business.

August Advocacy Update: Where We Stand

Casey Dreier • August 15, 2013

Planetary exploration sees strong support from both parties in the current budget process, but we have a long way to go before a budget is passed this year.

NASA Leadership Moving On

Casey Dreier • August 09, 2013

Both Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and CFO Beth Robinson are leaving NASA within the next few months.

One Year on Mars: My Favorite Moments from Planetfest 2012

Casey Dreier • August 06, 2013

It seems like it was just yesterday that 2000 people gathered in the Pasadena Convention Center to celebrate Curiosity's landing on Mars. All of Planetfest 2012 is online for your enjoyment.

TODAY at 4pm PDT: Google+ Hangout, Celebrate Curiosity's First Year on Mars with Deputy Scientist Ashwin Vasavada

Casey Dreier • August 05, 2013

It was just one year ago that Curiosity had her dramatic landing on the surface of Mars. Emily Lakdawalla and I will interview the Deputy Project Scientist of the Curiosity mission, Ashwin Vasavada, about the successes of the past year and the what to look forward to in the next

"NASA non-concurs"

Casey Dreier • July 30, 2013

NASA responds to its advisory council's recommendations from April of this year.

Civil Servant Responsible for Government STEM Restructuring Identified

Casey Dreier • July 30, 2013

The government employee responsible for the proposed restructuring of all STEM programs in 2014 has been identified by the journal Science. The initiative faces resistance from both Congress and the scientific community, who feel that they were not consulted during the decision making process.

Remembering the Pluto Campaign: A Success Story

Casey Dreier • July 22, 2013

The New Horizons mission to Pluto survived many near-death encounters with cancellation during its development. The Planetary Society worked the whole time to ensure it would launch.

The New Cosmos Series Has a Trailer

Casey Dreier • July 21, 2013

The remake of Cosmos, starring Neil deGrasse Tyson and airing on Fox, just released its first teaser trailer at the San Diego Comic-Con.

Congress Rejects NASA's First Operating Plan

Casey Dreier • July 15, 2013

NASA's plan to raid Planetary Science funding to pay for sequester cuts in other science programs was rejected by Congress earlier this month. NASA is now working on a new plan that has yet to be submitted for approval.

House Committee Approves Smallest NASA Budget Since 1986

Casey Dreier • July 12, 2013

This budget, if enacted, would be the smallest budget NASA has seen since the mid '80s, when adjusted for inflation.

Dueling Op-Eds on NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission

Casey Dreier • July 11, 2013

NASA Administrator Bolden and the Chairman of the House Science Committee published opposing op-eds in The Hill newspaper today, illustrating the uphill battle NASA faces to sell Congress on this mission.

Mars 2020 Science Announcement Live-blog

Casey Dreier • July 09, 2013

Follow along as NASA reacts to the recommendations of the science definition team for the next Mars rover.

Target NEO Workshop Today

Casey Dreier • July 09, 2013

Follow along as scientists work through the possibilities and problems of NASA's asteroid retrieval mission.

We Need Space-Based Detection of Threats, but NASA Shouldn't Pay for It

Casey Dreier • June 27, 2013

Early detection is a crucial step in preventing or mitigating threats from space, but it's not NASA's job.

If we started today, how long would it take to get to Mars? With this budget, never.

Casey Dreier • June 19, 2013

The House of Representatives held a hearing today to discuss their proposed NASA authorization bill, which would fund Planetary Science, cut Earth Science, forbid asteroid retrieval, and command NASA to pursue a path to Mars via the Moon.

Planetary Society Hangout: LaserBees, Asteroids, and Planet Vacuums

Casey Dreier • June 13, 2013

We check in with Dr. Bruce Betts, our Director of Projects, on the latest from our current programs funded by our members.

Confirmed: NASA Defies the Will of Congress by Raiding Planetary Science Funding [updated]

Casey Dreier • June 10, 2013

Despite congressional rejection of massive cuts to Planetary Science this year, NASA has found a way to implement the cuts internally and use the money for other purposes.

Download This One-Page Summary on the Threat to Planetary Science

Casey Dreier • June 05, 2013

When we visit Congress, this is what we leave them with. This one page summarizes the entire threat to continued planetary exploration at NASA in the proposed 2014 budget.

NASA Administrator Highlights Advanced Propulsion Systems at JPL

Casey Dreier • May 23, 2013

Charles Bolden stopped by JPL to highlight research being done on advanced propulsion techniques that would be used in the proposed asteroid retrieval mission.

No NASA Operating Plan Yet

Casey Dreier • May 23, 2013

NASA has still not sent its operating plan to Congress. Rumors of the agency reprogramming away all of the additional funding to Planetary Science remains just rumors.

Planetary Society Hangout: Advocacy Update

Casey Dreier • May 23, 2013

The Planetary Society just returned from a major political advocacy trip out to D.C. what did we do and what did we achieve? What's going on with the current funding situation regarding Planetary Science and NASA at large? How does the asteroid retrieval mission help or hurt planetary exploration goals? What's the larger plan and what are the consequences if cuts continue?

Planetary Science Echoes Through the Halls of Congress

Casey Dreier • May 21, 2013

The Planetary Society just returned from a big trip to Washington, D.C. to advocate for continued planetary exploration. Here's what happened.

NASA Robs Planetary Science

Casey Dreier • May 15, 2013

NASA's leaked operating plan suggests that the agency is raiding money restored to the planetary program this year by Congress.

Planetary Society Hangout: A Day in the Life of the Opportunity Rover with Emily Dean

Casey Dreier • May 09, 2013

Thursday, May 9th, at noon PDT/3pm EDT/1900h UTC, we are joined by Emily Dean, who works on the camera team for the Opportunity rover on Mars.

The Planetary Society Travels to Washington, D.C. Next Week

Casey Dreier • May 09, 2013

We're storming D.C. next week to raise awareness of continued cuts to NASA's Planetary Science Division.

American Astronomical Society Criticizes NASA Planetary Science Budget

Casey Dreier • April 30, 2013

The AAS made a strong critique of proposed cuts to NASA's Planetary Science program today.

Planetary Society Weekly Hangout: 2014 NASA Budget Update and Planetary Defense Conference Recap

Casey Dreier • April 25, 2013

We take your questions on the 2014 NASA Budget, the Planetary Defense Conference, and Mars One.

House NASA Budget Hearing Live-blog

Casey Dreier • April 24, 2013

Live blog of comments and analysis from the House Science Committee's hearing on NASA's 2014 Budget.

Twitter Accounts for Key Space Representatives

Casey Dreier • April 23, 2013

Here are the official Twitter accounts for key people in Congress associated with supporting Planetary Science.

[updated] Tweet #fundPlanetary Today and Spread the Word to Help Save Planetary Exploration

Casey Dreier • April 23, 2013

Congress meets this week to discuss the 2014 NASA budget. We need as many people to reach out as possible so Planetary Science is on the agenda.

Planetary Science Is Fading to Black, Claims New Op-Ed

Casey Dreier • April 22, 2013

A powerful new op-ed in SpaceNews traces the inevitable decline of NASA's Planetary Science missions if the current cuts to the program are implemented.

JPL's Open House Falls to the Sequester

Casey Dreier • April 18, 2013

JPL announced that its annual open house was suspended indefinitely on Tuesday, another victim of the arbitrary cuts known as the Sequester.

No Hangout This Week

Casey Dreier • April 18, 2013

Due to unusual travel circumstances, we won't be hosting a live hangout this week.

NASA's Planetary Doublespeak

Casey Dreier • April 11, 2013

NASA went on an unusual tweet-binge praising planetary science today, saying that the struggling division "thrives" and highlighting various missions mainly developed in better times. NASA made five tweets in a row about planetary science over the course of two hours.

2014 NASA Budget Cuts $200 million from Planetary Science -- Again

Casey Dreier • April 10, 2013

NASA's new budget doubles down on cuts to Planetary Science, despite Congress rejecting a similar proposal last year.

More Evidence for a Habitable Mars from EGU 2013

Casey Dreier • April 08, 2013

NASA's Curiosity rover has acquired further evidence that Mars's atmosphere was once dense enough to support liquid water on the surface.

Will the Sequester Take an Outsized Bite from Planetary Science at NASA?

Casey Dreier • April 06, 2013

Despite a $223 million boost from Congress this year, NASA's Planetary Science Division may not be allowed to use that money so NASA can prevent cuts in other programs.

Covering the European Geosciences Conference in Vienna

Casey Dreier • April 04, 2013

Live in Vienna? Attending EGU? I'll be covering the conference next week for the Society.

What To Watch For In The 2014 Budget

Casey Dreier • April 03, 2013

Here are the big items to watch for when the White House proposes its 2014 budget on April 10th.

Planetary Society Weekly Hangout: Programming in the Sciences

Casey Dreier • April 03, 2013

Thursday, Apr 4th at noon PDT/1900 UTC we continue our weekly Live Hangouts. Join us this week with Chase Million, founder of Million Concepts, a company devoted to providing high-quality code to scientists.

What's Going On with NASA Education and Public Outreach?

Casey Dreier • March 28, 2013

Sequestration claims its next victim at NASA, as all Education and Public Outreach activities are suspended until further review.

[Updated] Senate Bill Restores $223 million to NASA's Planetary Science Division

Casey Dreier • March 27, 2013

The President signed the Senate's bill to fund the government for the remainder of 2013, and it includes some positive news for NASA's Planetary Science division, which is facing a 21% cut.

A Victory for Exploration

Casey Dreier • March 21, 2013

We celebrate success as Congress passes a bill that restores funding to NASA's Planetary Science program, allowing for more missions, begins a mission to Europa, and funds Plutonium fuel development.

Send Us Your Sequestration Stories

Casey Dreier • March 15, 2013

Are you a scientist or student that has felt an impact from sequestration? Tell us your story.

Sequestration Claims its First Victim at NASA

Casey Dreier • March 14, 2013

The first major effects of Sequestration were felt at NASA yesterday, with new rules severely restricting travel and scientific conference attendance by NASA scientists and contractors.

Rep. Adam Schiff Responds to Questions on Planetary Science Funding

Casey Dreier • March 08, 2013

Rep. Adam Schiff's response to the state of Planetary Science funding from his recent online town hall.

Planetary Society Hangout: March 7th, 2013 - What's Going On With Curiosity and a NASA Budget Update

Casey Dreier • March 07, 2013

Thursday at noon PST/3pm EST/20:00 UT we check in with Emily Lakdawalla to bring us up to speed with Curiosity's computer problems and we check in on NASA's budget status.

Ask Rep. Adam Schiff About Planetary Science

Casey Dreier • March 05, 2013

Rep. Adam Schiff is holding an online town hall on Wednesday, March 6th at 2:30pm PST. If you live in his district, it is a great time to ask about the status of Planetary Science funding on Twitter or his Facebook page.

Proposed House Budget Increases NASA Funding for SLS and Commercial Crew, Leaves Science Untouched

Casey Dreier • March 04, 2013

The U.S. House of Representatives unveiled their new funding bill for the remainder of the 2013 fiscal year, which funds NASA at 2012 levels with the exception of its SLS and Commercial Crew programs.

Checking in with the Future of Mars Exploration at NASA

Casey Dreier • February 27, 2013

Reporting from NASA's Mars Exploration Program working group on the latest updates in scientific exploration of the red planet.

MarsFest 2013: Mars in the Mojave

Casey Dreier • February 26, 2013

From March 1st - 3rd I'll be representing the Planetary Society at the 2nd annual MarsFest, located in Death Valley National Park.

Planetary Society Hangout Thursday, Feb 21st at noon PST. The Sequester at NASA with Jon Morse

Casey Dreier • February 21, 2013

How will the Sequester effect NASA? Dr. Jon Morse, former Director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA, will help us understand the cuts, the process, and the hard decisions being made right now.

The Sequester Will Cut NASA Science by an Additional $52 million

Casey Dreier • February 14, 2013

Brand new information about the effects of the across-the-board cuts known as Sequestration, if they were to be enacted.

What Has NASA Done for Me Lately?

Casey Dreier • February 13, 2013

NASA released its Spinoff 2012 report, detailing the numerous technology transfers, inventions, and economic impact by the U.S. space program.

JPL's Mohawk Guy Invited to Attend the State of the Union Address, Despite Cuts to Planetary Exploration

Casey Dreier • February 12, 2013

Bobak "Mohawk Guy" Ferdowsi of JPL will join First Lady Michelle Obama as a guest at today's State of the Union address.

Planetary Society Hangout Thursday Feb 7th at 12:00 PST/20:00 UT: Snow and Ice on Mars with Paul Hayne

Casey Dreier • February 07, 2013

Join us this week as we feature our guest, Dr. Paul Hayne from JPL. Dr. Hayne studies snow and ice on Mars, extreme temperatures of the Moon, and is on the Cassini science team. He also founded the group Young Scientists for Planetary Exploration to help organize early-career scientists to be aware of the politics of space.

Tell Us How Planetary Science Is Cheap, Be Entered to Win

Casey Dreier • February 06, 2013

Submit an entry comparing the cost of Planetary Science at NASA to...anything. You'll be entered to win a prize. Exploring the solar system costs less than many people think, let's give everyone food for thought.

A New Statement on NASA's 2020 Rover Mission

Casey Dreier • January 29, 2013

The Planetary Society remains committed to a balanced program of solar system exploration, with Mars, outer planets, and small missions all playing an important part.

Up Is the New Up

Casey Dreier • January 28, 2013

The European Space Agency will enjoy a 6.5% increase in funding this year, reports SpaceNews.

Advocacy Update: The Society Traveled to Washington

Casey Dreier • January 25, 2013

The Planetary Society makes another visit to Capitol Hill to advocate for Planetary Science funding at NASA.

Planetary Society Hangout: Jan 24th, 2013 - Hunting Asteroids with Gary Hug

Casey Dreier • January 24, 2013

Gary Hug is an asteroid hunter. He scans the skies every night looking for new near-Earth objects and refining orbital measurements for existing ones. Join Casey Dreier and Dr. Bruce Betts as they interview Gary Hug about his work and his recent discovery of a new NEO on January 7th.

Planetary Society Hangout: Jan 17th, 2013 - Drilling on Mars with Joel Hurowitz

Casey Dreier • January 17, 2013

Join Emily Lakdawalla and Joel Hurowitz of the MSL Curiosity sample acquisition team to talk about the upcoming "first drill" by the martian rover.

New Details on the 2020 Mars Rover

Casey Dreier • January 10, 2013

The 2020 Rover will achieve its cost-savings by using $200 million of existing hardware left over from the Curiosity mission, said the Director of the Planetary Science division within NASA.

The Astronomy Budget Squeeze

Casey Dreier • January 09, 2013

It's not just the Planetary Sciences division within NASA that's under harsh budgetary times. The NSF Division of Astronomical Sciences is facing a choice between funding scientists and funding telescopes. A report from the 221st AAS meeting in Long Beach.

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